I love the holidays. Especially Thanksgiving. I love the food, I love the parties, I love the feel of it all. But most of all, I love being with tons of family, catching up on life, watching my children play with their cousins, and just being together.
Well, I loved that — past tense. Three years ago when we moved from San Antonio to Boston, we had to decide whether to fork over $1,600 to the airlines so my family of four could get back home for Thanksgiving.
We decided against it.
I was sad, and I knew I needed to find a way to fill the void that would certainly be created upon seeing my family’s Facebook pictures plastered all over my newsfeed after the holiday.
Knowing that my husband had always dreamed of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, we started planning a road trip. Now, for those of you who have always lived in New England, or along the East Coast, you may not know that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a bucket list item for many people who only dream of getting to Manhattan someday. Seriously, people spend boatloads of money to get the family to this event (or even just to NYC for a vacation) just once in their lifetime. We figured if we live this close to it, why not just go?
So we booked a two-night stay at an Airbnb in Hell’s Kitchen, reserved a table for Thanksgiving dinner at Hill Country BBQ (to bring a little Texas to our souls), and made a game plan for the parade.
That first year we sat right behind the barricades on 64th and Central Park West, something many people will only ever see on TV. We skated in Rockefeller Center, walked Times Square, and ate BBQ that tasted like home. And it was better than I ever imagined. Though I had moments when I missed Thanksgiving with the whole family, I was creating unbelievable memories with my husband and two kids that I will forever cherish.
Since then, we have repeated this ritual every year. Same spot at the parade, same dinner, same place in Hell’s Kitchen. The only change we make is the non-parade entertainment.
This year will be year four, and though we haven’t decided whether we’ll take the kids to “Wicked” or to the Museum of Natural History, we do know that on Thursday morning, at 6 a.m., you’ll find us sitting in lawn chairs and wrapped in blankets at 64th and Central Park West.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.